Wael Al-Dahdouh’s is just one of thousands of heartbreaking stories coming from the Gaza Strip. The 53-year-old Al Jazeera reporter, while on air to report on the relentless Israeli attacks on Gaza (LIVE UPDATES), received the tragic news that a raid had wiped out his entire family: his wife, daughter and the son, both minors, died when the house where they had taken refuge was hit. Yet another victim of a war that increases its death toll among civilians every day. The family had in fact moved to the south of the Strip after leaving their home in the north following Israel’s evacuation order.
The reporter: “Targeted attacks against children, women and civilians”
Wael Al-Dahdouh is a well-known journalist, head of Al Jazeera’s bureau in Gaza. A “courageous veteran journalist”, the director of the Arab broadcaster, Mohamed Moawad, defined him when announcing the tragedy on Balah to see with his own eyes the horror of his family members killed. He crouches over their bodies, caresses the face of his teenage son Mahmoud.
“What happened is clear, this is a series of targeted attacks against children, women and civilians,” Al-Dahdouh said as he left the hospital, in shock. “I was just reporting from Yarmouk about a similar attack,” he continued, according to Al Jazeera. “We had our doubts that the Israeli occupation would not let these people go without punishing them. And unfortunately that is what happened. And this would be the ‘safe’ area that the occupation army talked about.”
Al Jazeera press release
Some members of Al-Dahdouh’s family, including a young niece, survived the attack on the house where they were staying in the Nuseirat refugee camp, south of Wadi Gaza. But in the evening some were still missing and people were being searched for among the rubble. “The indiscriminate assault by the Israeli occupation forces has resulted in the tragic loss of Al-Dahdouh’s wife, son and daughter, and the rest of his family is buried under the rubble”, is the harsh statement from Al Jazeera Media Network for the incident.
Condolences from colleagues
“It is heartbreaking to report on Wael’s family and see how destroyed he is. He calms everyone down. He speaks to us like an older brother, not just like an office manager”, are the words of Youmna Elsayed, Al Jazeera correspondent in the Strip. “He didn’t leave Gaza City. He stayed, despite all the threats.” And despite the risk of dying: according to Palestinian sources, over 20 reporters have died during the new war between Israel and Hamas. But Al-Dahdouh “did not stop for 19 consecutive days”, underlined her colleague. “He said he had to be here in Gaza City, to tell about these people who are bombed every day.” A horror that he not only documented, but also experienced firsthand.